BNSF Nemadji River Bridge (North)

Warren Deck Truss Bridge over Nemadji River
Saunders, Douglas County, Wisconsin

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name BNSF Nemadji River Bridge (North)
Built By Great Northern Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By BNSF Railway
Length 1,740 Feet Total, 90 Foot main span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 60 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Warren Deck Truss, Deck Girder Trestle and Concrete T-Girder
Substructure Type Stone Masonry, Concrete, Steel Tower and Steel Pile
Date Built 18900, Approaches Rebuilt 1907, 1913 and 2009
Traffic Count 2 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
Significance Moderate Significance
In 1892, the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway opened up a line from Saunders, Wisconsin to Allouez Bay, a short stub of about 5 miles.
The line started from the lines south to the Twin Cities and west to Grand Forks. It would head due east, crossing the Nemadji River and Crawford Creek on large bridges. It would then enter the harbor area.
In 1907, the StPM&M became the Great Northern Railway, who controlled several lines around Minnesota.
The line was still in favor for hauling non-ore commodities to the Superior Port.

When Great Northern merged with their main competitor, Northern Pacific in 1970, the line became part of Burlington Northern.
BN merged with Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe to form BNSF Railway in 1996. Today, BNSF still operates the line, which is largely unchanged since the GN days.

This large deck truss bridge crosses the Nemadji River on the south side of Superior.
Built in 1900, the bridge has seen a number of modifications. The main truss span features a 6-panel, riveted Warren Through Truss. This span was built in 1899 and originally approached by trestle spans.
The approaches were rebuilt in 1907 and 1913 with a number of steel deck girder spans on either side. However, some of these spans were replaced in 2009. The entire west approach was replaced by new modular concrete spans. The bridge is set onto concrete and stone substructures, as well as steel piles.
It is unknown why the west approach was replaced. The bridge is difficult to access, and the author accessed it via the frozen river.
Overall, the bridge remains in fair condition. It appears that some damage may have occurred to the structure during a flooding event.

The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, due to the truss design.
The photo above is an overview.

Nemadji River Railroad Bridges
Upstream CN Nemadji River Bridge (S)
Downstream CN Nemadji River Bridge (N)


Source Type


Build Date Great Northern Railway AFE list
Build Date Great Northern Company Records at the Minnesota Historical Society
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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